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YSR Kanti Velugu: Eye care boon in Andhra Pradesh

A man is screened for his eye health in Kolkata, West Bengal. In Andhra Pradesh, a screening and treatment programme is underway for eye ailments. 

Andhra Pradesh commemorated World Sight Day with the launch of a Rs 560.88 crore scheme providing free eye care. 

One in five Indians miss out on eye health checkups, making such initiatives a boon to the citizens’ sight. Chief Minister Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy launched the initiative, entitled ‘YSR Kanti Velugu’, at the Anantapuram Junior College Ground. Around 5.4 crore people will be screened as part of the programme. 

The scheme will be conducted in six phases, the first of which will run between October 1st and October 16th and provide eye health screening for seventy lakh children across 62,500 schools. Its second phase, which will run from November 1st to December 31st, will dispense spectacles and provide treatment for eye conditions free of charge. 

In the remaining third to sixth phases, mass screenings for eye conditions will take place and secondary and tertiary care management will be administered, including cataract surgeries and testing for conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. 

“There are about 2.12 crore people in the state with [eye] ailments and eighty percent of these can be avoided with precaution,” the Chief Minister said. “If the problems are not detected in time and necessary measures are not taken to address them, they could lead to total blindness.” 

A sizeable workforce will be involved in implementation of the programme according to the Chief Minister’s Office. “In all, 1145 Primary Health Centres, 195 Community Health Centres, 28 Area Hospitals, thirteen District Hospitals, eleven Tertiary Hospitals (Including two Regional Eye Hospitals), 115 Vision Centres, thirteen District Blindness Control Societies and 117 Registered NGO Hospitals are being involved in the program,” it said. Committees will be convened at the district-level, chaired by collectors, to oversee implementation. 

India is home to more than sixty million people living with some form of visual impairment. Yet there are shortages of optometrists and ophthalmologists, making access to eye care and screening difficult for many Indians. Programmes such as YSR Kanti Velugu are necessary steps for India to ensure its people can live healthy lives, without being impeded by sight-related disability.

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